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  #11  
Old 06-21-2012, 02:47 PM
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A small SSD drive would make a difference.
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  #12  
Old 06-21-2012, 05:21 PM
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Check virtual memory. Too low or none will slow start up. Also there are registry tweaks that can help. Google for them. For my own systems I shut-off windows automatic updates, also If your mom does not need all the so called bling from themes switch them to windows classic and disable themes in services. That alone should help. Unless she is running a really, really old processor, but with 2gb ram I would believe it is a p4 or above it should be running fine. With the tweaks suggested. What did you leave running in msconfig? Also there are things that load automatically that are not in msconfig, ie. startup folders and other registry entries. Try autoruns if you are comfortable with that.

Good Luck. And an SSD is awesome for quick boot times.
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Last edited by drake3d; 06-23-2012 at 03:27 AM.
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  #13  
Old 06-21-2012, 06:49 PM
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I'll agree that old P4 XP systems aren't going to be tweaked into running like an i7, but there are plenty of things that can get them from running at a snail's pace to at least that of a turtle.

SSD is tempting to recommend, but has anyone actually used one with XP for any amount of time? XP doesn't support TRIM, and most of what I've read indicates that SSD performance will decline sharply over time under XP. I've not revisited the topic in a while, but I'd definitely research it a bit before pulling the trigger on an SSD. A nice 7200 RPM drive with a large cache and high density platters (associated with high storage capacity) is a safe bet that will go a long way to alleviate any HDD related bottle necks.

Drake3D offers some sound advice. I'd add or expand the following items:

* disable disk indexing
* disable system restore
* use MSCONFIG to remove non-essential startup items
* disable non-essential services
* clear any excess in the C:\Windows\Fonts folder as well as excessive icons\files on the desktop
* make sure drivers are up to date (or as up to date as they can be)
* make sure the video mode is set to 24/32-bit color (takes extra overhead to render high-color images in low-color modes)
* set swap size min/max to the windows recommended setting
* uninstall non-essential applications and use the disk cleanup wizard prior to any defragging
* make sure hyperthreading is enabled in BIOS if supported by the CPU
* check BIOS to see if there are any 'optimized' or 'turbo' settings that can be used if you're not comfortable manually looking for things to optimize.

There are other ideas to help old systems run as fast as is possible. Spend some time with Google and see what works for you. ( :

A clean Win XP system can run with as little as 30-40 processes active in memory. Keep tweaking to see how low you can go so that as much CPU/RAM resources are available to the OS and desired application(s) as possible.
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  #14  
Old 07-06-2012, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techpitt View Post
* clear ... excessive icons\files on the desktop
? Other than the fact that they are occasionally redrawn, I don't know how this would have any bearing on performance. The icons are cached, after all, so it's not like they're re-extracted from the Exes or Dlls every time or anything.
Removing the wallpaper does speed things up; that's why all remote software turns it off while connected.
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  #15  
Old 07-06-2012, 04:30 PM
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I would like to add in on this. The BIGGEST performance hit my my mind is caused by excessive startup programs. All of my Windows XP pcs run an antivirus and yet are all under 30 processes on a fresh boot. They are more than fast enough for my uses (HTPC, CNC Controller/web lookup pc in the garage, and Quickbooks pc at work). A process in XP is much more tasking to the system than a process in Win7(be it due to lower hardware or what not).

Kill any and all processes that you don't need, use Autoruns, it gets much deeper than MSCONFIG.

Defrag, Startup items and you are 98% there.

EDIT: This assumes no hardware problems.

Last edited by Rob_NNCC; 07-06-2012 at 07:30 PM.
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  #16  
Old 07-06-2012, 04:41 PM
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no software thats going to work miracles, figure out the source of the slowness and resolve it. For started some hd performance and sector test would be a good idea.
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  #17  
Old 07-06-2012, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xander View Post
? Other than the fact that they are occasionally redrawn, I don't know how this would have any bearing on performance. The icons are cached, after all, so it's not like they're re-extracted from the Exes or Dlls every time or anything.
Removing the wallpaper does speed things up; that's why all remote software turns it off while connected.
In my experience, excessive icons can be marginally to moderately detrimental to performance when a) initially loading the desktop while other I/O activity is going such as launching services and startup items, and b) when redrawing the desktop. It won't very often be a night and day difference, but on an older computer every bit helps.

I was on the fence about even mentioning the icon thing, but at my day job I work as support for a software company and have seen some pretty powerful PCs run like poo when a directory with an excessive amount of files in it gets polled. We're talking daul-quad Xeons with ridiculous RAM & RAID taking a minute to list a few hundred thousand files in a folder. Scale this example down to a P4 with minimal RAM (that's already shared with integrated video) and an ancient HDD... suddenly those 1000+ icons for "Free Games" and "Coupon Printers" (if OP's mother is anything like mine) may have a noticeable impact.

I almost forgot the #1 tip for speeding up old PCs... or anything for that matter:

Put an aftermarket spoiler on the back. Racing stripe might help, too.
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  #18  
Old 07-06-2012, 09:30 PM
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As said before, slow boot into a 'useable' desktop is most likely related to excessive startup processes. In the tuneup we do we can usually speed up booting to a responsive desktop by around 200-300% by clearing out unnecessary startup processes/services. As stated before, use Autoruns. If you need help weeding out which processes to get rid of just save an autoruns snapshot and we'll let you know whats safe to remove.

In your case, upgrading hardware isn't going to give you a good enough boost to justify the cost.

Last edited by kisk; 07-06-2012 at 09:33 PM.
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  #19  
Old 07-06-2012, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techpitt View Post
In my experience...snip...I almost forgot the #1 tip for speeding up old PCs... or anything for that matter:

Put an aftermarket spoiler on the back. Racing stripe might help, too.
Yeah, also if you put a few Intel Core i7 stickers, Corsair Memory badges, SSD stickers, etc. it will make it run smoother.
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  #20  
Old 07-06-2012, 11:25 PM
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Well, there are things like shutting down selected services, defragging with a proper program like Puran or Auslogics etc., but as others have said, cloning the 80 gb drive and replacing it, then installing a clean copy on the new drive it is the best for performance.

BTW, I just was working on a Dell Dimension 2300 (Pentium 4 with 512 mb ram - two slots) from 2005 and it ain't the fastest unit out of the blocks, but just fine for minor uses (internet, word processing, etc.) I looked at increasing ram (sdram pc133 dimm )but found out Crucial wants $56.99 per stick!
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